It's The Thought That Counts
It was Valentine's Day.
And for what had to be the 40,000th time, he had to remind himself that he and glue simply did not mix. Or perhaps the right was to say it was: they mixed way too well.
"How is it there's more of this junk on me than there is on you?" He demanded of the rather innocent-looking, heart-shaped card just before him. He looked down at his arms, sticky to the elbows.
Beast Boy sighed in exasperation.
"Maybe she won't mind." He picked up the card between two fingers, holding it out and inspecting it the way someone might look over a foreign insect. "She probably won't mind." All the tiny frills seemed to have slipped into one corner of the red heart, mounding together in a small pink mess. Too much glue meant gravity would win. "She normally wouldn't mind . . ." The sparkles, which were supposed to be sprinkled evenly over the entire card, only existed in tiny, randomly spotted dots in around the face, wherever they had been able to grab ahold of accidental drops of glue; the rest of the glitter (About a lunchbox full) was smeared across the carpet of his room. And because the card was so damp from the glue, the ink inscription he had scribbled on the front hadn't sunk in and was near-impossible to read.
Beast Boy flopped unto back with a defeated sigh, holding the card high above his head. "Man, this is so totally hopeless." She deserved better. Like, a diamond necklace or something. But ignoring the fact that only moths resided in his wallet most of the time, he wasn't sure it was even worth it to buy her something like that . . . Not that he wouldn't in a millisecond if she asked him, it was just that-
"Beast Boy?" The greeting was followed by an over-zealous thunder of knocking at his door. "Will you not withdraw from your room to celebrate this day-of-love with us?"
Eeping like a small child caught with his hand in the cookie jar, Beast Boy jumped up, eyes wild. "Um, just a sec, Starfire!" His head whipped back and forth as he surveyed the mess of his room. Well, his room was always a mess, but never mind that, he needed to cover up this certain glue-glitter-and-frills-mess!
Of course, cleaning had never been one of his many talents. When trying to kick the Valentine materials under his bed only succeeded in spreading the junk farther around, Beast Boy become desperate. He began to attack the mounds of clothing about his room, dumping armfuls of it onto the aforementioned glittered spot. At least it was his turn to do the laundry this week. That way, he wouldn't have to explain why there was glitter ingrained into some of his shirts to a curious Cyborg . . .
"Beast Boy?" The doorknob began to slowly turn, and Beast Boy became a green blur, cloths flying through the air in a tiny storm. By the time the door had swung open, Beast Boy stood just in front of the finished product, hands behind his back with a suspiciously wide, innocent grin covering his features.
Luckily, Starfire wasn't a very suspicious person, so she didn't think to question why most of Beast Boy's clothes had migrated to a small mountain in the center of his room. She blinked once, then broke out in a wide smile.
"You must come to celebrate with us! I have decorated the main room in accordance with your earthly traditions and have baked wonderful snorgelblat pastries!"
Beast Boy held back a slight wince. Starfire's alien foods were deadly; he had learned that the hard way. Still, he coughed innocently, remarking with as much enthusiasm as he could muster: "Um, awesome! Sounds great. I'll be there in just a sec, kay?"
Starfire nodded, but her wide smile dissolved slightly as her expression turned curious. Eyes turned somewhere toward the vicinity of his bed, Starfire questioned, "What is that?"
Beast Boy blinked in response, turning his head towards his bed . . . and jumping a foot just a minute later. Oh, crap! In his hurry, he had forgotten to hide the card itself, and now the pathetic thing was in plain sight, laying flat on his comforter!
"Nothing! It's nothing!" He leapt into the air and then twisted, landing on his back and covering the thing with his body, while at the same time widening his innocent grin three-fold towards a startled-looking Starfire. "Not anything! So, um, yeah . . . see you in a bit?"
Starfire looked entirely confused. After a moment, she asked curiously, "This is a new earthly tradition I am yet unaware of, is it not?"
"Uh . . .Sure." Beast Boy nodded, still hiding the card from her sight. "I'll explain it later!" Why wouldn't she just leave?
Starfire stared at him a moment more, then finally nodded again, withdrawing and shutting the door behind her.
Beast Boy breathed a sigh of complete relief, slipping off the bed and landing on the floor with a small thud. He wasn't sure why he was trying to hide this from the others- Well, okay, he knew exactly why. They'd just think he was a complete dork, probably. Well, then again, they already thought he was a complete dork, so maybe he didn't want them to know about this because he didn't want to give them any more material to mock him with.
Starfire, if she understood what was going on, would probably still not understand why he was doing it. She was just too innocent sometimes- she couldn't comprehend why her earthling friends did some of the things they did. Cyborg would just roll his eyes, cut to the chase and call Beast Boy an idiot right off. Then he'd forget about it; after all, it was no big deal to him. Raven . . . Raven would just go silent, and after a moment, turn away. That was always her way; avoid and run from the things that might make her upset. She just denied their existence until they actually did go away. But Robin would be the worst . . . As their self-proclaimed leader, he couldn't just look away and ignore it. He'd say something. Something stupid that didn't really need to be said, but something sympathetic and wise at the same time . . . and that would be the worst. Beast Boy could probably face anything except sympathy. He didn't want the others feeling sorry for him.
It wasn't like he was the one to pity, after all.
It took him a few moments to get the card into the envelope he had picked out and make sure there was no other incriminating evidence around his room, but soon after, he was ready. He made his way down the hallway, stopping before the door that lead to the recreation room. Taking in a deep breath, Beast Boy hide the envelope behind his back, then opened the door. If he could just get out quickly . . .
The scene that greeted him just inside was, in a word, comical. Were he in the mood, he probably would've snickered. The entire place had been done over in pink- pink frills, pink hearts, andpink streamers were everywhere. Pink and red balloons floated about merrily, and the semi-circle couch had a new cover over it, pink cupids with tiny bows and heart-tipped arrows dancing about the fabric. Raven sat in a far corner, as far away from the decorations as she could get, a book held just inches away from her nose. She twitched when a streamer, attached to a wandering balloon, came within a few inches of her shoulder. Cyborg sat on the couch, and there was a garland of pink flowers about his head and a heart necklace around his neck; he seemed to be ignoring them both, head resting in the palm of his hand with his elbow perched on his knee. Robin leaned against the counter a few feet from Starfire with a plate in one hand, a strange, curiously purple substance that Beast Boy supposed was edible, moving almost like jello on the dish. Robin, too, had not escaped Starfire's decorations; a garland of pink, heart-shaped flowers was about his neck, which he endured with all the patience a great leader was required to have.
Starfire seemed to be explaining something energetically, which Robin listened to with an expression of amusement- well, it was amusement for Robin, anyway- when abruptly Starfire seemed to notice Beast Boy's entrance and spun towards him with a smile.
"Beat Boy!" Starfire announced brightly, gleefully unaware of her guest's less-than-enthusiastic attitudes. "You have arrived!"
Robin raised his free hand in absent greeting. Seeing Starfire distracted, he took his chance and tipped his plate vertically behind him, dumping the purple mess down the garbage and using his cape to hide the action. When Starfire turned around again to face him, Robin tried an innocent look, rubbing his stomach contentedly. "Yum!"
"Oh, see?" Starfire replied, clapping her hands happily. "It is good! Would you like more?"
"Oh, no!" Robin replied quickly, eyes widening. He took a cautious step back, looking like he was facing a dangerous enemy about to attack, setting his plate on the counter. "I'm full, really. Thanks anyway!"
"I understand! Snorgelblat is quite filling." Starfire turned back to Beast Boy, who abruptly felt like a fatlab rat who was about to be put through some horrible experiment with really weird cheese as the bait,too slow to escape. "Beast Boy! Would you-"
"Hey, man!" Cyborg greeted him, interrupting Starfire and brightening considerably, standing to face him. He strode to his friendfrom across the room. "Now, on to the important stuff. There's a controller to Mega Monkeys Five that has your name on it!" Grabbing Beast Boy around the shoulders, Cyborg spun the smaller teenager around as though he weighed nothing, pushing him back the way he had come despite Beast Boy's startled protests. While shoving him back into the hall, Cyborg added out of the corner of his mouth, "C'mon, man, get out of here while you can before she makes you taste those nasty things!"
"Um, Cyborg, I totally appreciate the effort and everything, but could I possibly take a raincheck?" Beast Boy laughed uneasily. "There's kinda something I gotta do first."
Cyborg blinked uncomprehensibly at him, then shrugged and released him. "Whatever. Just stay away from the kitchen, dude."
"Uh, yeah. Thanks." He slipped away while he could, making a dash for the door. Starfire was distracted again, apparently now absorbed in getting Raven to wear one of the strange heart-necklace things. Beast Boy snorted softly, reaching for the touch-pad which would open the door. Fat chance of that-
A green-gloved hand landing on his arm stopped Beast Boy's effort, and he jumped, turning to face the hand's owner. Robin blinked back at him seriously, raising an eyebrow.
"You know, it's really not fair to the rest of us if you escape that easily."
"Oh." Beast Boy scratched the back of his head with his free hand, grinning sheepishly. "I'm not! I mean, I'm coming back, really. I just gotta go somewhere first. There's- Uh- a sale at GameStore today, you know, downtown, and I just- Uh-"
"Uh-huh." Robin commented, his other eyebrow raising to match the first, releasing Beast-Boy's arm. He was staring at something just over Beast Boy's shoulder- or rather, a something the boy held in his hand just there. Beast Boy blinked, then realized he was still holding the card. He gulped, shoving the thing behind his back and laughing in a high-pitched voice, nearly squeeking.
"And, um, oh yeah! Gotta mail something!" His voice was way too high. Clearing it, he added, "So, I better go before the post office closes-"
"Beast Boy." Robin interrupted, shaking his head. Was he . . . amused? "It's okay. I understand."
Beast Boy wilted, sighing. Here it came.
"Go ahead. I'll cover for you. Just, do me a favor, alright?"
The green-skinned teen superhero blinked, raising his head. That was not what he had been expecting. Curiously, suspiciously, he nodded. "What is it?"
"Just tell her we all miss her. And happy Valentine's Day, from everyone."
"Oh." Beast Boy blinked again, resisting the urge to tilt his head. No sympathy? No lecture about duty and letting go of the past? No wise-yet-corny saying? The scent of Starfire's flowers must've been messing with the Boy Wonder's head. Not that he was complaining. "Um, sure."
He paused, then asked, "So . . .can I go now?"
Robin chuckled, nodding. "Yeah, go ahead."
He did. It took him barely a moment to hit fresh air and even less time to change into a form with wings and feathers, soaring through the sunny air faster than he could've walked. The envelope was gripped firmly in his talons.
He knew the way to his destination better then he knew the way to his room. The way was ingrained into his memory; he probably could've flown there blindfolded with one wing behind his back in a rainstorm- not that he'd ever want to, of course, just that he could.
He was at the wreckage site before he realized it. Banking around in a semi circle, Beast Boy's flight turned into a dive, and he shot through one of the open pipes faster than Cyborg could dive for the last slice pizza. He used the speed from the dive to make his way through dead air, twisting around turns and moving deeper underground. Up ahead, he saw his stop; an opening leading into a huge underground cavern.
He dropped, talons transforming back into feet before he hit the ground. The air was musty and damp, thick with the smell of the earth. His eyes sought her out in the darkness, spotting her almost instantly.
His feet found their way to her across rubble and debris, his footsteps loud and lonely in such quiet darkness. He wondered if she was even aware of his presence. Normally, he might've changed into a rat or some such animal made for this kind of dark and uneasy, earthen terrain, but he wanted to look at her with human eyes. He had seen her for the first time with human eyes, seen her for the last time with human eyes . . . He felt he owed this to her, almost.
She stood proudly against her less-than-welcoming background. Her hair was whipped about her face as though frozen in the middle of the storm, her arms were braced as if to defend from some terrible foe, but her face, her expression, was calm determination. Her eyes still seemed to shine, her lips gentle and curved.
She was still perfect. Caught like this, braced in stone, frozen in a moment . . . she was still perfect.
He laid his shabby card at the base of the pillar she stood on, then cleared his throat and stepped back, looking up at her. He opened his mouth to speak several times without a single successful sound emerging. Finally, he clasped his hands behind his back, glancing down at the rock beneath his feet.
He cleared his throat again, kicking at the dust absently. "Um, Happy Valentine's Day. I made you a card. I know it's not that great . . . Um, Sorry. I kinda got in a fight with the glue bottle and I think I lost." He looked up then, trying a small smile, but, of course, she hadn't budged, still staring off at the darkness.
Beast Boy sighed and glanced down again. "Well, anyway, just wanted to say that we all . . . we all miss you, and . . . We're all trying hard to find a way to bring you back. I mean, even Raven has looked through some of her books for a spell, or something, that might change you back . . .
"I guess I just wanted to say . . . look, if you're awake in there, or at all aware of . . . any of this . . .don't give up hope yet. Just, hold on for a little longer. I swear, we'll find a way. We have to. I mean, you know how much Starfire cares and how obsessive Robin can be and how smart Cyborg is and how powerful Raven is . . ."
Beast Boy looked down again, getting that feeling of having something large lodged in his throat. "And, um, me too. You know how much I . . . I mean . . . you know I . . . you know I won't let go, right?" He glances up again, then, searching her features for something . . . anything. Any sort of sign . . . "I swear, I won't ever forget about you or stop trying to find a way . . ."
Nothing. Blank stone, that was all.
"Please, Terra . . ." He wasn't sure what he was begging her for, just that it was terribly important. "Don't give up on us. Don't ever give up. Just hold on . . ."
Not knowing what else to say, Beast Boy stood there for some time, just looking up at her. Unconsciously, he was trying to make her move- twitch, blink, glow, anything- through shear power of will. But mere stony gaze looked back at him.
After awhile, Beast Boy thought the others were probably wondering what had happened to him. Sighing softly, Beat Boy turned away, walking quietly back toward the exit. His footsteps pattered against the ground like raindrops in a quiet, fadingstorm. He was the only source of noise, the only living thing, in this unstable space. So quiet, down here . . .
He paused just at the entrance to the hall leading from the great cavern, turning around just once more. Softly, just loud enough to be heard, he said, "Happy Valentine's Day, Terra."
His gaze lingered on her still figure for another stolen moment before he turned away once more, a feathered pattern tracing it's way across his skin. Spreading his wings, he took flight, and imagined her eyes were following his leave.
AN: Well, recently, I've become rather obsessed with the Teen Titans, and the idea for this oneshot came into my head. Beast Boy is hard to write, for me, because I'm used to writing in way more serious tones . . . But, well, I hope I did him justice. RR or constructive criticism much appreciated and begged for . . . No, really. See? This is me, begging! Reviews are an author's bread and water, you know! Thanks for reading.